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Conversations with Sterling Plumpp

Conversations with Sterling Plumpp

Edited by John Zheng
Series: Literary Conversations Series

Hardcover : 9781496807427, 202 pages, June 2016
Paperback : 9781496825568, 202 pages, August 2019

The first collection of interviews with the renowned poet of Home/Bass and other much-admired works


Conversations with Sterling Plumpp is the first collection of interviews with the renowned poet of Home/Bass and other much-admired works. Spanning thirty years and drawn from literary and scholarly journals and other media, these interviews offer insights into his poetic innovation of blues and jazz and his mastery of black vernacular in poetry. This collection seems fundamental to an understanding of the life and work of an African American poet who has been innovative in fusing blues and jazz rhythms with poetic insight and in vivifying the vernacular landscape of African American poetry.

Born in 1940 in Clinton, Mississippi, Plumpp has been living in Chicago since 1962. Home/Bass received the 2014 American Book Award. The finest blues poet of his generation, Plumpp became a model for contemporary poetry and poetics and a leading figure in the tradition of blues/jazz poetry. He continues to reinvent the language while exploring the registers of individual and communal memory and of local, national, and global history. His poetry is important in attempts to define the black aesthetic from the era of the Harlem Renaissance to the seminal Black Arts Movement. It is also important for its rearticulation of the Great Migration, especially expressed by blues musicians who left Mississippi for Chicago.


"This beautiful book of interviews will be an invaluable resource when we discuss Sterling Plumpp's poetry and the blues in my 'Southern Music and Literature' course. This is the book we have all been waiting for, and I am deeply grateful to John Zheng for sharing it with Sterling's many admirers. "

- William Ferris, Joel R. Williamson Eminent Professor of History and Senior Associate Director of the Center for Study of the American South, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill